Microsoft today announced the establishment of docs.microsoft.com, a new website to house documentation for its services. The site features several improvements on Microsoft’s existing properties for hosting documentation, including MSDN and TechNet.
“Both sites are built on a 10-15 year-old brittle codebase with an archaic publishing and deployment system that was never designed to run on the cloud,” Jeff Sandquist, general manager of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group, wrote in a blog post that appears, of course, on the new site.
Indeed, the site runs on Azure and is geographically distributed across multiple data centers; documentation pages load 50 to 300 percent faster than they did on earlier sites, Sandquist wrote.
Entire articles have been chopped up into smaller ones with buttons for navigating to next and previous sections. The pages are responsive, so they’ll adjust nicely as browser window sizes change, and they’ll look fine on mobile devices. Each page has an area for comments (thanks to a Livefyre integration), Facebook and Twitter sharing buttons, and an Edit button that routes users to the corresponding GitHub page — because, after all, the documentation on all these pages is available under an open source license.
URLs on the new site will be clean and human-readable and not unwieldy, which they can be at times.
The font size is larger than before.
And finally, just like Medium, every post on the new documentation site provides an estimate of how long it will take to read. “We know many of you are learning/evaluating technology a few minutes between meetings and you’re more likely to read articles if you knew how much of a time commitment is required,” Sandquist wrote.
This is just a “preview” release for the new site, and as such only documentation for Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility services is available there for now. More Microsoft services will see their documentation ported over to the new site over time, Sandquist wrote.
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